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View Full Version : A different "which class is strongest" metric



belboz
2007-03-28, 02:12 PM
So, this is a random, silly idea that probably isn't worth putting into practice. But I've seen a lot of single-combat contests (indeed, there's a big tournament going on on this board right now) to establish which class is "stronger", at least in combat.

It occurs to me that this penalizes characters whose combat strength comes from them being team players. The most obvious here is the bard, but even in other cases, characters may have combat abilities that just don't show up in one-on-one combat. Is the character an excellent flanker? Do they radiate an aura that grants all sorts of immunities to allies? Are a lot of their buffing abilities *mass* buffing abilities? They're going to undershine in single combat. IIRC, when we work working on CUTE over in Homebrew, we had a character class (the Dreamer) that was more or less completely useless in combat by herself, but could be a *very* powerful player in a party, by such abilities as forcing rerolls, forcing entire re-dos of a round (with foreknowledge the second time through), mass bonuses and healing, and so on.

So here's an alternative idea. Two parties of 5 go up against each other. The first consists of fairly standard fighter, cleric, rogue, and wizard builds, *plus* character X. The second consists of an *identical* fighter, cleric, rogue, and wizard, plus character Y. (If, say, character X is a fighter, the first party will have two fighters). Pre-combat buffing, both individual and party, is allowed. Muy es mas macho?

I'm not sure that results would be drastically different from single combat--I'll bet it's better to have an extra wizard than an extra fighter--but it would be interesting to see exactly how this would affect the ranking of, say, the bard.

marjan
2007-03-28, 02:23 PM
The bard is penalized by his existence. But this wouldn't give realistic comparision because there are four more allies on each side who roll their dice so it involves more randomness. And besides the outcome would depend on the performance of the other members.

daggaz
2007-03-28, 02:26 PM
The bard is penalized by his existance.

Bahahahahahahaha!

belboz
2007-03-28, 02:34 PM
Hmmm....do more dice actually equal more randomness? That's certainly not numerically true--the standard deviation of a lot of die rolls is *smaller* than that of only a few. And my gut says that applies here. A single lucky 20, or unlucky 1, is going to have much more effect in 1-on-1 combat. But I'm just uncertain enough about this that I could possibly be persuaded otherwise.

And the "performance" issue--well, that applies just as well to single-combat rankings too, right? A badly played wizard is definitely weaker than a well-played fighter, however superior it might be with players of comparable skill.

You have to take care that player skill level is reasonably balanced on both sides--whether you're running party combat or single combat.

ravenkith
2007-03-28, 02:40 PM
True dat.

I'd go a mystic theurge/warweaver/bloodline combo so as to be able to drop up to nines as multibuffs (shapechange for everyone! yay!).

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-28, 02:41 PM
Actually, Id like to see it differently. DnD is not all just combat, and should rarely be combat against other PCs.

What Id like to see as a way to test the power of the classes, is an adventure written with equal parts combat, diplomacy, intrigue and exploration, and have four groups follow that adventure seperately (lvl10+). Group one will be a basic group of fighter/barbarian, wizard/scorceror, rogue, cleric/druid and bard. Second group made of the same, but replaces the fighter/barbarian with another cleric/druid. Third group is all clerics and druids, fourth group is mages of all kinds.

Run each group through the adventure, and check which group had it easiest in the end.


It's too bad such a project would take so much work.

Variable Arcana
2007-03-28, 04:14 PM
When the current battle was getting started, someone suggested a Decathlon-type gauntlet to run each character through...

You might imagine something like (say, at 5th level):
1) Kill an ogre.
2) Get across a toll bridge, without paying (guarded by a hostile troll)
3) Acquire a treasure item (from a locked, trapped chest guarded by half a dozen goblins)
4) Defend a dozen commoners from four zombies
5) Chase down and capture a fleeing kobold (who has a five round headstart)
6) Beat a hobgoblin archer with boots of levitation
7) Escape from a 15'x15'x15' pit
... etc...

The idea is that they aren't all combat, address a variety of situations, and each permit a variety of solutions (e.g. diplomacy, stealth, or combat to get past the troll or jumping, climbing, or levitation to get out of the pit...)

PnP Fan
2007-03-28, 05:13 PM
A teamwork test? I like. But I'm not willing to do the work. Good luck in testing your theory.

TSGames
2007-03-28, 05:39 PM
Hmmm....do more dice actually equal more randomness? That's certainly not numerically true--the standard deviation of a lot of die rolls is *smaller* than that of only a few. And my gut says that applies here. A single lucky 20, or unlucky 1, is going to have much more effect in 1-on-1 combat. But I'm just uncertain enough about this that I could possibly be persuaded otherwise.

I'm not so sure...There's a school of thought regarding probability that is purely inductive(ie. The odds of a coin coming up heads are 50% because the limit as the test is repeated approaches .5, not because of any other factor). So, you are quite right that the more times you roll a die, or even multiple dies in a consistent test you will approach the limit(ie. rolling a d20 against AC of 14 10,000 times will give you a fairly accurate measure).

However, I am not convinced that more dice rolls means more accuracy in this instance because the test is not set. There are dozens of potential factors influencing the number that dice rolls need to meet, the modifier of the numbers, the types of dice being rolled, etc. To put in game terms, spells, variability of tactics, damage rolls, any other kind of dice roll, all usually allow for too many variables(especially magic) to influence them. This compounded by the fact that the probability of two successful tests is the product of the probabilities of each individual test:(again to simplify), if Fighter has to roll a 19 or 20 to hit Mr. Buffed wizard, and Mr. Buffed wizard casts a spell on him reducing his chance to hit and damage, the probability of Fighter saving against that spell becomes a factor in determining his chance to hit Mr. Buffed wizard, his damage, and his odds of killing the wizard.

Conclusively, when you repeat the same test over and over many times you achieve a more accurate measure of probability, but when you have many different tests occurring with many different variables influencing them you are not guaranteed to arrive at a more accurate result.

Tellah
2007-03-28, 06:02 PM
"Very is more male?"

No te intiendo, tio.

I like the idea, though.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-28, 06:03 PM
When the current battle was getting started, someone suggested a Decathlon-type gauntlet to run each character through...

You might imagine something like (say, at 5th level):
1) Kill an ogre.
2) Get across a toll bridge, without paying (guarded by a hostile troll)
3) Acquire a treasure item (from a locked, trapped chest guarded by half a dozen goblins)
4) Defend a dozen commoners from four zombies
5) Chase down and capture a fleeing kobold (who has a five round headstart)
6) Beat a hobgoblin archer with boots of levitation
7) Escape from a 15'x15'x15' pit
... etc...

The idea is that they aren't all combat, address a variety of situations, and each permit a variety of solutions (e.g. diplomacy, stealth, or combat to get past the troll or jumping, climbing, or levitation to get out of the pit...)


Oooh, that sounds fun to do. To bad I can't DM... I would've liked to start this.

henebry
2007-03-28, 07:39 PM
Your suggestion reminds me of the way that coaches test individuals in 8-person rowing ("crew"): two individuals are tested against each other by racing them in the same position (seat #5, say), then having the two switch boats and race again. Even if the same boat wins both times, if the boat wins by 10 seconds the first time and 1 second the second, you have a sense of the added value of the rower who got switched out of that boat for the second race.

belboz
2007-03-28, 10:57 PM
"Very is more male?"

No te intiendo, tio.

I like the idea, though.

OK, so that's what I get for relying on a half-remembered quote about a minor sport from a country whose language I don't speak. Oh well.